Since I've read Natural Habitat Adventures' piece on Gross National Happiness (GNH) in Bhutan, I've been thinking much about how I can humbly assess my own GNH while not being dragged down by the widely accepted Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the common economic indicator that measures the sum of all goods and services produced by a nation which most perceive as personal material success.  Perhaps the nomadic shepherds in Bhutan have it right.  How do I maintain centered serenity while living and working in the metropolitan East Coast area?

Connection with friends and family is super important.  As I get older, my circle shrinks.  And there's only so much time to get together with folks in the midst of work deadlines, commuting and family events.  It really has to be a mutually beneficial relationship where all parties make an effort to keep in touch and engaged in each other's lives.  Last Thursday, I was blessed enough to finally meet up with two of my close girlfriends, J. & L., whom I've known since coming of age in my twenties.  J.'s son, G., is my godson.  Due to scheduling conflicts, we missed seeing each other before the holidays.  Our last attempt was botched by a blizzard.  So the soonest we could get together was last week.  And it felt so heartwarming to finally catch up.  The kind of heartwarming where just feasting on decent sashimi and a couple glasses of wine is all we need.  We're pretty much on a see each other every two to three months basis.  And the time we spend together is precious. 
Mindful activity is critical too, especially with our partners.  Today's 40-degree weather felt like the groundhogs maybe migrated along the Bhutanese shepherds in a previous life, leading us into an early spring (hopefully).  While it's Superbowl Sunday, it seemed a most welcome opportunity to hike along the neighboring Hook, where some of the sand dunes seemed like frozen tundra, and the low tide made it easy to feed the seagulls some leftover swai from our fridge while A. poked around the sand with his walking stick.  He ended up finding an unusual black rock with shiny specks all over.  (We discovered it's not a meteor as it has no magnetic pull.  Lava rock?  But no volcanoes nearby.)  Our sunny trek by the ocean brought us much needed peace as we patiently wait for Nature to turn its course towards sun kissed days.  

When it comes to GNH v. GDP, the indicator for success is in genuine relationships with family and friends and not so much in individual material wealth.  Seems easy enough for those of us who totally agree and try to live it.  For others, a heftier challenge.

the ocean salt soothes
my day-to-day busy wounds
as i reconnect